The 1970's Video

An introduction to the 1970s

The unsettled events of the sixties, including war and social change, had momentum to continue into the seventies. Major trends included a growing disillusionment of government, advances in civil rights, growing influence of the women's movement, an increased concern for the environment and continued space exploration. Many of the "radical" ideas proposed during the 1960s became accepted in the seventies and were integrated into American music, literature, entertainment and even fashion.

1960s, woman at typewriter

Arizona fun facts and national milestones

Arizona in the 1970s was a more rustic place than today. Did you know more people reside in Maricopa County today than lived in the entire state during the seventies? There were only a few TV stations, country rock was brand-new, and Phoenix had just 32 miles of freeways! Across the nation, bell-bottoms and disco were the rage, but it was also an era of economic struggle, cultural change and technological innovation.

  • The floppy disc appears in 1970, and the next year, Intel introduces the microprocessor: the "computer on a chip."
  • Honeywell and Digital Equipment Corporation all have major manufacturing facilities in Phoenix and Tucson.
  • Four students are killed by the National Guard during anti-war demonstrations at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970.
  • Hawley Lake hits 40 degrees below zero – the coldest temperature recorded in Arizona, on Jan. 7, 1971.
  • Daniel Ellsberg leaks the Pentagon Papers in 1971. These top-secret government documents help to discredit the Vietnam War policies of the Nixon administration.
  • In 1972, Cesar Chavez fasts for 25 days in Phoenix over a new Arizona law that prohibits the right of farm workers to strike or boycott.
  • Long gas lines are common in 1973 as the Arab oil embargo leads to shortages and energy prices skyrocket.
  • In 1973, the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizes abortion.
  • In 1974, Gerald Ford becomes the 38th president after Richard Nixon resigns.
  • Arizona elects Raul H. Castro, the first Mexican-American Governor of Arizona, in 1975.
  • We commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence with a spectacular bicentennial celebration on July 4, 1976.
  • Completed in 1976, the Navajo Generating Station in Page, Ariz., becomes one of the largest coal-fired power plants in the United States, producing 2.25 million kilowatts of electricity.
  • In 1979, the decade ends with Iranian militant students seizing the U.S. embassy in Tehran, capturing 66 hostages and setting off an intense standoff that lasts 444 days.
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1960s Child At Work Day

BCBSAZ fun facts

During the 1970s, our state population exceeded 1.77 million and Arizonans looked for additional types of insurance.

  • BCBSAZ introduces its first HMO plan, ABC-HMO2.
  • In 1972, BCBSAZ is awarded the business for 19,000 State of Arizona employees.
  • BCBSAZ’s employee population almost doubles, from 239 in 1970 to more than 430 by the end of 1979.
  • With growth in mind, plans begin to construct our present-day headquarters in North Phoenix.
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1960s Employee Health Fair

Pop culture fun facts

Mood rings, lava lamps, the Rubik's Cube, smiley face stickers and pet rocks captured our imagination during this decade. The craziest fad may have been “streaking,” or running nude through public places! Families across the country drove station wagons and it seemed everyone wanted a recreation vehicle.

  • The TV series, All in the Family, makes its debut in 1971.
  • M*A*S*H appears on our TV screens for the first time in 1972.
  • Mark Spitz wins seven gold medals in swimming at the 1972 Olympic Summer Games.
  • The Symbionese Liberation Army kidnaps Patty Hearst in 1974.
  • “The Fonz” becomes known to the nation when Happy Days appears on TV in 1974.
  • Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates in 1975.
  • The “King,” Elvis Presley dies in 1977.
  • The ground-breaking miniseries, Roots, airs in 1977.
  • In a galaxy not so far away, Star Wars appears in theaters in 1977.
  • Progressive rock is made popular by bands such as Genesis, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Pink Floyd.
  • John Travolta ushers in the disco scene in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever.
  • Americans are taken hostage in Tehran in 1979.
  • The Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania suffers serious damage in 1979.
  • The Sony Walkman hits the market in 1979.
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1960, woman at computer

1970s: what did it cost?

In some respects, the 1970s were a simpler time. No one was tethered to a cell phone. There were no expensive computers or tablets for us to purchase. And kids didn’t need gaming platforms; they still went outside to play after school! So how much did the things we needed cost back then?

  • The average home costs $23,400 in 1970, and by 1979, one costs $58,500.
  • In 1970, the average yearly income is $9,350. It increases to $17,550 by 1979.
  • A gallon of gas is just 36 cents in 1970, and by 1979, it becomes 86 cents.
  • In 1970, the average cost of new car is $3,900. At the end of the decade, that cost rises to $5,770.

Here are some other 1970s prices to think about!

  • Large eggs – $0. 59 per dozen
  • Milk – $0.62 per gallon
  • Potatoes – $0.99 for 10 pounds
  • Butter – $1.33 per pound
  • Bacon – $0.80 per pound
  • Sirloin steak – $1.19 per pound
  • Loaf of bread –$0.25
  • Ketchup – $0.19
  • Sugar – $0.39 for 5 pounds
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